Commentary

Instagram Will Allow Users To Disable Comments On Their Posts

Instagram really wants to avoid the troll infestations that are plaguing other social networks like Twitter -- and, to a lesser degree, parent company Facebook.

For that reason, it will soon let everyone disable commenting on individual posts.  

“While comments are largely positive, they’re not always kind or welcome,” Kevin Systrom, Instagram's co-founder and CEO, notes in a new blog post.

In a few weeks, anyone should be able to tap “Advanced Settings” before posting, and then select “Turn Off Commenting.”

In the coming weeks, Instagram is also adding the ability to like comments by tapping a heart icon next to any comment.

“Liking lets you show support and encourages positivity throughout the community,” according to Systrom.

Additionally, the network is making it easier for users to anonymously seek support if they suspect that a social conmmenter is expressing suicidal thoughts, or might otherwise be in distress.

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“We have teams working 24 hours a day, seven days a week, around the world to review these reports,” Systrom notes.

The changes are part of a broader effort to protect users from trolls, haters and other bad actors.

To that end, it recently began inviting everyone to moderate comments as they see fit. A keyword moderation tool was first offered to business users in July, and then to all users in September.

Per the change, comments with certain words will be hidden from users' posts. Users can choose their own list of words or use default words that Instagram will provide.

This change is in addition to the tools that the Facebook unit has already developed, such as swiping to delete comments, reporting inappropriate comments and blocking accounts.

Digital harassment is bigger than any one platform. Indeed, a full 40% of online users report being subjected to some form of harassment online, according to recent findings from the Pew Research Center.

Harassment has been a particular problem for Twitter. Despite efforts to curb their activity, trolls have scared away some of the network’s most influential users.

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